Introduction: How to Make Perfume

Picture of How to Make Perfume

Why spend a fortune on perfume or cologne when you can make your own for cheap. Brand name perfume/cologne can cost from $50-100, why spend that much when you can create your own fragrance with vodka and essential oils.

Instead of wearing a fragrance that everyone else wears you can make your own unique blend. Your own aromatic creations also makes a thoughtful gift.

Step 1: What You Need:

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  • Vodka (the higher percentage alcohol the better) or Everclear if you can get it
  • Essential oils*, fragrance oils**, infused oils, even flavour*** extracts (make sure it's pure) such as vanilla extract
  • distilled or spring water
  • glycerine (this can be found in pharmacies)

Other stuff

  • pretty glass bottles to put the finished product in, preferably coloured glass, reuse bottles or find them at the dollar store.
  • glass jar for mixing fragrance in
  • measuring cup/spoons
  • a dropper if you have one
  • funnel
  • aluminum foil or wrapping paper if you are using clear glass bottles
  • a pencil and paper for jotting down your recipe
  • a discerning nose is helpful

*You can also make your own perfume oil Be a Romantic Scientist: Distill your own perfume oil.

**Fragrance oils are synthetic and are less expensive than essential oils.

***Quite a few perfumes use food flavours in them, so extracts are an easy way of incorporating them into your own creations.

Step 2: Preparing Bottles

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Sterilize the bottles and jars in the dish washer, especially if you are reusing bottles. They need to be clean and sterile.

Step 3: Add the Alcohol

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Measure 1/4 cup of vodka/Everclear and pour into jar.

Step 4: A Note About Scents

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I've included a few words about scents, if you want to launch right into concocting your perfume skip ahead to the next step.

In perfumes the fragrance can be divided into three different notes depending on when they arise.

Top note: The initial scent when you put the perfume on, then disappears, they include; lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime, bergamot, spearmint, peppermint and others.

Middle note: This scent appears just after the top note disappears. Scents like; coriander, palmarosa, marjoram, basil, rosemary, rose geranium, pettitgrain, lavender and others.

Base note: This appears after the middle note and is the base of the perfume, they include; patchouli, vetiver, frankincense, cedarwood, sandalwood and others.

When you are mixing your perfume start by adding your base notes, then middle then your top notes.

Scents can be divided into different families such as floral, oriental, woody and fresh (such as citrus, etc) See wheel below. This is lovely but why do we need to know this? When you are mixing your perfume,adding scents from neighboring families creates harmony in you perfume.

Brand name perfume/cologne
There is a website which identifies the different components of brand name fragrances, so if you would like make an imitation of your favorite perfume/cologne check it out; basenotes Fragrance directory

For example:
Obsession Fragrance Notes

Top Notes
  • Mandarin, Bergamot, Jasmine, Rose, Orange Blossoms.
Middle Notes
  • Coriander, Tagete, Armoise.
Base Notes
  • Amber, Oakmoss.
Some of these scents may be a bit hard to find. (?armoise)

Aromatherapy involves using scents to affect mood and well being, if you would like to consider this when blending your fragrance, check out Aromatherapy for Emotional Well-Being

Men's Cologne
Guys, don't feel left out, try scents from the woody or fresh families to make a nice manly cologne.

Step 5: Add You Scents

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This is where the magic begins...

Add approximately 25 drops of essential/fragrance oil.

Take one scent ;
  • add a few drops
  • swirl
  • smell
  • add more or continue on
  • write down the oil and number of drops
Take the next scent and repeat as above until you have added the approximate number of drops. Feel free to add more or less to create the desired fragrance.

If you are just starting out and don't know which scents to try. You can divided the alcohol into smaller volumes and try different combination, experiment, be creative, have fun with it.

Step 6: Let It Age

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Once you are happy with the fragrance that you've created it is time to let it age. Place it in a cool dark location for a minimum of 48 hours, up to a month.

Aging your fragrance allows the scents to mingle, and also become stronger. Once you have aged your fragrance for the desired length of time, smell it again, the mingling may have changed the overall scent, so feel free to add a few more drops of scent to tweak it (don't forget you will need to age it again, if more scent was added).

Step 7: Add Water and Glycerine

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Now that the fragrance is ready, it needs to be diluted.

  • Add 2 tablespoons of distilled/spring water. If you are making a perfume spray, add more water.
  • Add approximately 5 drops of glycerine, this helps preserve the fragrance.

Step 8: Finishing Up

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Pour the perfume into your bottle, use a funnel if you need to. If you are using clear bottles, you will need to cover them with aluminum foil or wrapping paper (your fragrance needs to be protected from the light or it will go off).
Add a label, decorate it, give it a fancy name and be happy that you saved a lot of money!


Vicroyal27 (author)2017-12-29

Hi, i love your lecture. Please I need more tutorials in this perfume making. I want to go deeper into it cos I wanna take it as a business here in my country in Africa. I want to be making high qaulity custom made designers perfume for celebrities and other classy, stylish people. Please help me out to be able to build a perfume manufacturing company. Thank you

msdix (author)2017-10-20

Do you add the water and glycerin before or after the perfume is aged?

ChrysN (author)msdix2017-10-21

You add after it has aged.

SHOE0007 (author)2017-07-25

Yes a type of distillation process.

SHOE0007 (author)2017-07-24

Has anyone extracted with distillation Bittersweet nightshade? I have and it properties are interesting. Although it has solanine it melts at 273 deg C. Also the smell of the berries are horrible but they change with other results like steam boiling. It smells like woody tomato smell. Interesting smell. My theory is that there are volitle chemicals in there that can be captured through distllation.

SHOE0007 (author)2017-06-03

Sohlex extraction of Sage leaves (a bit different then Korean Lilac).

SHOE0007 (author)2017-06-03

I am thinking that 95% ethanol recycled through a Sohlex extractor is the best method for making a perfume. Cheese cloth, etc is required to filter the solution once it is done. In two weeks from now it should come my Sohlex extractor distiller.

rocksy007 (author)2017-05-09

Appreciate if you can advise if this Vodka can be used to make perfume?

ChrysN (author)rocksy0072017-05-09

Sure, it should work fine.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2017-04-19

Images for making Ginger (Dried) tea like extract through fractional distillation. Although a Soxhlet extractor would be more efficient. It took a long long time to collect 100 ml of ginger extract (organic powder).

SHOE0007 (author)2017-04-18

Do anyone know how to extract Lilac more efficiently. Perhaps using an Soxhlet Extractor to recycle the aroma of the flowers?

SHOE0007 (author)2017-01-13

I have made cream soda tang perfume, Dr.Pepper perfume (with cream soda and tang) and many tea extractions perfumes. Does anyone know how to preserve the odor naturally longer?

alengland (author)SHOE00072017-01-30

is it sticky

SHOE0007 (author)alengland2017-01-30

No since all the sugars in the Pop are left behind in the distiller flask 1 L and the aromas of the pop can be smelled.

SHOE0007 (author)2017-01-13

94 proof alcohol can be very expensive. I can get 95% ethanol for the drug Pharmacy for 3 dollars per 500 ml. It only requires 15-20 ml of ethanol. So this is fine for me. As long as you don't ingest the perfume everything will be OK.

ashershuan (author)2016-10-05


why Vodka is nesseserry?

a 94% pure alcohol is not recomended?


ChrysN (author)ashershuan2016-10-05

Pure alcohol is better, I just suggested vodk because it is easier to come by.

Amy D.J (author)ChrysN2016-12-18


ChrysN (author)CalebT222016-10-22

Yes, that should work well..

ashershuan (author)ChrysN2016-10-06

thank you so very much!

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-23

Here what happened after a crack formed and I used a rod to remove the stir rod. If any cracks appear on the structure DON'T USE IT DUE RISK OF EXPLOSION!!!!

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-23

Beware of long term use of distilling. Even with proper use over time the distiller flask 1 L will crack. This is because you are exposing the glass to 400 deg C for hours at a time. I had to replace the 24/29 distill 1 L flask.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-22

Here more cinnom powder and sticks in boiling water.

Perfumeculture (author)2016-11-22

Great share,,,

I really impressed with the article. Well,
Perfume is the very important part of everyone’s life. And off course it plays
very important role in our daily wears. Especially ladies are fond of scents.

Perfume Provide an instant confidence. But you
have to take care about your signature perfume. As I like Acqua Di GIO Perfume.
It was first launched in the market and it became one of the most popular and
best-selling perfume for men in the USA. Its light masculine scent is
neither sharp nor spicy. I always wear this while leaving for my office
meetings and family functions.

Have a look at these online source to buying

Thank you & regards

Perfume culture

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-21

Real cinnomon 100% pure without any other ingeridents.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2016-11-21

Here fresh and expensive cinnamon from powder and sticks. The total concentration of oil was 11 g of 2%. So a yeild of 0.22 g.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-21

It makes not a perfume but an interesting repellant (In theory).

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2016-11-21

Here is 8.1 g pure cocoa with mint to get a perfume of cocoa mint. It aroma if it works will be interesting.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-21

Since I used 200 ml of volume of mint and assuming that at 130 degrees C all the oil dissolved and was distilled then I would have at 2% a total of 93 mg oil.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2016-11-21

Here I am extracting at 2% about 7.2 g of mint leaves which gives me 140 mg mint oil. My scale goes down to 0.1 g so if I use 50 ml I will not be able to measure the calculated oil. That is my limit.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2016-11-21

Trying 2.00 g of lime peel powder being extracted at 2% of the oil for a few hours.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-20

I will distill mint leaves next. They have anywhere from 1.3 to 2.5% mint oil.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-20

Silly of me but ceder contains 1-2% of oils in the leaves. 15-40% in the tree. The scale before was acting a bit funny so maybe 0.3 g was not acceptable (Ooops). I did this again and got 0.1 g of oil by re boiling fresh leaves. A larger 500 ml beaker gave errors and that what i used. A 100 ml beaker may be more useful.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-20

In fact the label of the cinnomin said trace amounts of sesame seeds. This is probably the reason for the baka lava odor.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-20

I made a bit of the distillate. It smells like Baka lava. Maybe the ammonia lauryl sulfate had NO effect and it is due to the Process of cinnamon. This could indicate impure or contaminated oils from other nuts are in the cheaper cinnamon powder.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-20

20.8 g of cinnamon at a yeild of 2%.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-20

Here is a new attempt to extract 20.8 g of cinnamon oil from powdered cinnnamon without soap. In theory the cinnamon has 2% of this oil. Boiling chips were added to prevent over boiling.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-19

After measuring exactly 50 ml and carefully with a pipette remove the top oil layer I measured the weight to be 0.3 g.

0.3 g*6 = 1.8 g oil/9 g *100% = 20% est ceder oil.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2016-11-19

Here is an image of distilling ceder oil at 15%. Here is also a link.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-19

Ceder oil from ceder can give oil at 15-40%. I am assuming 15% oil. So 9 g would give 1.35 g total.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-19

I was thinking that a proper Sohlet distiller may be able to get close to 30% of the oil by mass out of the powder seeds. This is because you could use ethanol, etc to distill and separate the oil. (In theory). Then add TEC (Tetrachloroethylene) or Hexane to seperate the oil.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-19

Here I seperated the oil from water and weighed out 100 ml of oil from water. It weighed 1.00 g. So for 300 ml total I got 3 g of oil.

3.00 g /33.00 g *100% = 9% mustard oil by weight.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2016-11-19

Here is mustard oil being extracted through steam distillation. You can see a bit of the yellow oil with water.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-19

133-100 g (beaker) = 33 g mustard seed powder oops.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2016-11-18

Here is mustard scent perfume with mustard smelling compounds. It may be used as an insect repellent. 103 g of mustard about, 30% of the powder is mustard oil.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-18

Here is an oily pepper (pepper oil layer) surrounding water through distillation.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2016-11-18

Trying lemon pepper distillate. Contains 27 g of a lemon powder mix and 13 g of black pepper. Here are some pictures of lemon pepper aroma attempts to be made.

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-18

Next I will eventually make benzaldhyde from cinnamon oil and sodium carbonate with heat through distillation.

SHOE0007 made it! (author)2016-11-17

Here I am making 300 ml exact of 27 g of artifical lemon pie powder. It contains around 2% of ethyl formate (i think) and maybe some lemon oil.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and ... More »
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